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#487956 - 03/30/18 03:43 PM Topping ponds with salty well water?
JDP Offline


Registered: 03/30/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Texas
I recently acquired a piece of property and have several neighbors that drilled water wells only to find the wells to be extremely salty. I have two ponds where I was considering placing a well between. My main intent is to stock these ponds with fish. One with catfish and the other bass. One is 0.8 acres and the other is 0.2 acres (but plan to make the smaller one bigger). Ponds seem to water nicely but I want to ensure water levels are maintained before I invest in adding fish/habitat.

Spent hours trying to find more information about salty water wells and fish ponds. Figured it'd be best to ask the experts here!

1. I assume I would run into problems filling the ponds with salty water and then stocking with fish. Has anyone worked with a salty well?

2. I found a company that offers a "care free catalytic water conditioner" that apparently helps remove salt. No prices listed so I imagine it's pricey. Would this be a viable solution?

Thanks for any help. My apologies if this was asked before - I tried all sorts of search combinations to find an answer before posting.

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#487962 - 03/30/18 06:20 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
RER Offline


Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 1926
Loc: N FL
Fish actually do well with some salt in water. Any idea how many parts per thousand of salt those wells have. If you are only topping with it the pond would be considerably less then what the well Is producing I would think. You might even be able to add some brackish water fish to your mix. Where in TX are you located ?
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#487963 - 03/30/18 06:39 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
JDP Offline


Registered: 03/30/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Texas
Thanks for the response! Interesting feedback. Might not be an issue if I'm just topping off the ponds.

I am not sure of the parts per thousand - only info I have is that the west and south neighbors drilled wells which were too salty to use for irrigation. They ended up having city water lines brought out.

My property is in Coleman County (central Texas). Fairly dry part of Texas but not as bad as West Texas.

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#487964 - 03/30/18 07:28 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5779
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Welcome to PBF JDP!

Have you checked the current salinity of the water in the ponds?
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#487966 - 03/30/18 08:22 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
RER Offline


Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 1926
Loc: N FL
As long as you stay under 10 parts per thousand you are fine. 4-6 I think is actually premium for most fresh water fish. Some of the learned biologist folks will be able to give be a better more exact answer. But I do know that a little
Salt doesn’t hurt the fish. Plants might be another story.

You can get salt tolerant plants too though.


Edited by RER (04/03/18 09:29 AM)
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#487991 - 03/31/18 11:34 AM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
Rainman Offline
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5% to 8% salinity will grow some nice fresh water fish!
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#488003 - 03/31/18 04:56 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: Rainman]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1652
Loc: East Texas, USA
Did you mean 0.5 to 0.8% salinity for freshwater fish?
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#488006 - 03/31/18 06:16 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: anthropic]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2139
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: anthropic
Did you mean 0.5 to 0.8% salinity for freshwater fish?


I think he meant 0.5 to 0.8%. Seawater is about 3.5%. Dead sea is over 33%.
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#488090 - 04/02/18 07:42 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
JDP Offline


Registered: 03/30/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Texas
Thanks everyone. Sounds like I'll be OK with drilling a well to just top it off. I can't imagine the water to be more salty than seawater. Even so - I'm only adding at most 20% which should keep the salinity below 1%.

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#488091 - 04/02/18 08:11 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5779
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Just remember that salt does not evaporate. What ever salt is already in the pond will still be there and every time you top up the pond from the well you will be adding more salt to what's there already.

What's living in the ponds now? Fish, frogs, etc?

Do the ponds periodically get flushed out the overflow/spillway by fresh water?


Edited by Bill D. (04/02/18 08:29 PM)
Edit Reason: After Thought
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#488092 - 04/02/18 08:31 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2139
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Salt wells can be much saltier than seawater. If it does not periodically flush over the spillway or outlet pipe, it will become more salty each time it is topped off, until all your fish die.
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#488111 - 04/03/18 09:32 AM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: John Fitzgerald]
RER Offline


Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 1926
Loc: N FL
not all wells are the same and not more than seawater in a lot of cases. Many wells have salt water intrusion and are many levels of a mix of fresh water and salt (brackish). you could test the well or one near you to find out what you might have.

worse case you can raise saltwater fish in your pond.


Edited by RER (04/03/18 09:33 AM)
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#488129 - 04/03/18 12:51 PM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
JDP Offline


Registered: 03/30/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Texas
Ah - didn't think about evaporation and salt remaining in the pond. Great feedback. I'll have check the neighboring wells to see how bad it is.

The only source of water in the ponds currently is rainwater. Both are in a fairly low area so the water in them currently is from drainage.

Either way, I was thinking of drilling a well and worse case scenario is buying one of those catalytic water conditioner systems.

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#488202 - 04/05/18 10:07 AM Re: Topping ponds with salty well water? [Re: JDP]
RER Offline


Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 1926
Loc: N FL
does your pond have an over flow drainage system or does it ever over flow.

If you had the well running and or occasional big water events and water was leaving the pond via the over flow drainage system than accumulation would not be too much of a concern I would not think.
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